The following excerpt is from an article written by Jess Fee, features intern, and published on Mashable.com. Fee explains the complex concept of cloud computing in easy-to-understand terms that can help you better grasp what it means and how it can help your store. View her full article for information on the history of this technology and it's security.
"The cloud" is one of those trendy tech terms a lot of people use but can't clearly define. What is the cloud? When do you encounter it? How can it benefit your business?
If you use any kind of social media or online data drive, you're already using the cloud; you just may not realize it.
What is the cloud exactly?
The first thing you should understand about the cloud is that it is not a physical thing. The cloud is a network of servers, and each server has a different function. Some servers use computing power to run applications or "deliver a service."
For example, Adobe recently moved its creative services to the cloud. You can no longer buy the Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.) in a box set. Instead, you must pay a monthly subscription fee to use each individual service. That's why it's now called the "Adobe Creative Cloud" instead.
Other servers in the network are responsible for storing data.
For example, when you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone's internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.
So remember: "The Cloud" is a network of servers. Some servers provide an online service, like Adobe Creative Cloud, and others allow you to store and access data, like Instagram or Dropbox.
Chances are, you encounter the cloud daily. From Google Drive to SkyDrive to iCloud to Evernote, any time you store information without using up your phone's internal data, you're storing information on the cloud.
What are the benefits to working in the cloud?
The business decision to "move to the cloud" is often financially motivated. Companies used to have to buy their own hardware equipment, the value of which depreciated over time. But now with the cloud, companies only have to pay for what they use. This model makes it easy to quickly scale use up or down.
That's why the cloud is such a big deal; it doesn't just let you upload your pictures, but it also helps companies save thousands of dollars a year.
In an article on the benefits of cloud computing, SalesForce wrote, "Where in the past, people would run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server in their building, cloud computing allows people access the same kinds of applications through the Internet."
Working on the cloud allows your company to be nimble, efficient and cost-effective. If your company quickly needs access to more resources, it can scale quickly in the cloud. Conversely, if it needs to downscale or reduce resources, it can do so just as easily. Because of this scalability, the cloud's elasticity is often compared to that of a rubber band.
How big is the cloud?
No one knows exactly how much space can be provided by cloud-based services like Google, Amazon or Facebook; however, according to this infographic, the cloud can store about 1 Exabyte.
But how big is an Exabyte?
An Exabyte of memory can hold the same amount of data as 4.2 million Macbook Pro hard drives. That's a lot of storage.
MBS has been providing hosting service since before the cloud became a 'cool' term. We can eliminate the hassles of an in-store computer server so that you can concentrate on your customers with our cloud-computing solution. Learn more about our offering here.